Asian stocks mostly higher on hopes for pandemic recovery

Asian stocks mostly higher on hopes for pandemic recovery


TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher Thursday on cautious optimism that upcoming company earnings reports will reflect a gradual recovery from the damage of the pandemic.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 1.8% in afternoon trading to 29,337.27, in the first session after the Golden Week series of national holidays. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.8% to 3,173.05, but Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.5% to 7,062.40. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.5% to 28,566.00, while the Shanghai Composite recouped earlier losses and inched up 0.1% to 3,451.55.

Although the vaccine rollout is progressing slowly in Asia, compared to the U.S. and Europe, the global recovery is adding to optimism about exports and earnings of companies doing business overseas.

Japanese shares got a boost from remarks by policymakers at the Bank of Japan expressing resolve to prop up the economy with easy lending and stimulus measures. In the minutes for their meeting in March, they said the negative impact from COVID-19 on global economies was likely decreasing

Major U.S. stock indexes closed mixed after an early technology company rebound faded, tempering the market’s recovery from a sell-off a day earlier.

The S&P 500 eked out a 0.1% gain to 4,167.59 after climbing 0.7% in the early going. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3% to 34,230.34, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq slid 0.4% to 13,582.42.

The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks lost 0.3%, to 2,241.37.

Financial and energy stocks helped keep the S&P 500 out of the red. JPMorgan Chase rose 1.3% and Exxon Mobil added 3%.

Technology stocks, which led the market’s blockbuster rebound in 2020, fell for the seventh straight day. The sector, one of 11 in the S&P 500, is up 4.6% this year, the third-smallest gain in the...

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